NBA Playoffs 2012: Oklahoma City Thunder escape with 2-0 series lead


Apr 30, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) shoots past Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh (1) during the first half of game two in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

On the heels of a 33-point blowout loss to the No. 2 seed Miami Heat, the New York Knicks followed with a more impressive performance albeit one without staunch defender Iman Shumpert.

Carmelo Anthony accounted for 30 points and nine rebounds on 12-of-26 shooting. Anthony’s 30 points actually represent a vast disappointment considering he contributed 21 points in the first half. Coach Erik Spoelstra continued to alleviate LeBron’s defensive burden, although he did guard Tyson Chandler on occassion, by placing Shane Battier on Anthony.

In the second half, Anthony was forced into a lot of arduous possessions where he was the sole creator. Even a great scorer like Anthony cannot possibly maintain that amount of offensive burden. LeBron, on the other hand, finished with 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

His running mate, Dwayne Wade, scored a team-high 25 points and Chris Bosh totaled 21 points himself.

In an interesting development, Amare Stoudemire (18 points, seven rebounds) was diagnosed with a hand laceration after Stoudemire reportedly punched the glass surrounding a fire extinguisher.

Stoudemire later tweeted: “I am so mad at myself right now, I want to apologize to the fans and my team, not proud of my actions, headed home for a new start.”

Miami will be gunning for a commanding 3-0 series lead Thursday at 7:00 PM EST. The game will be televised on TNT.


Apr 30, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard George Hill (3) celebrates with his teammates against the Orlando Magic during the second half of game two in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeated Orlando 93-78. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

The Indiana Pacers defeated the Orlando Magic by 15 points, knotting up the series at 1-1.

The Pacers did so despite missing 18 of 20 3-point attempts. Danny Granger (18 points) accounted for nine of those misses. Fast break points and points in the paint were integral in the Pacers’ victory. They held comfortable leads in both respective categories.

Indiana took control of the game after Granger knocked down his only 3-pointer of the night that tied the game at 52. From there, Orlando relinquished their lead and Indiana never looked back. The Pacers maintained a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game.

Game 3 is scheduled for 7:30 PM ET Wednesday in Orlando. The game will also be televised on NBA TV.


Apr 28, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) calls the ball out of bounds by Dallas Mavericks center Ian Mahinmi (28) during the fourth quarter in game one of the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

TNT’s finale was, once again, the highlight of the night. While it didn’t match the late game heroics of the Clippers-Grizzlies game, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks engaged in another taut, physically draining game.

The lead changed 16 times and there was 16 ties, the last of which came with 50.4 seconds left in the fourth quarter after Kevin Durant connected on the first free throw.

Durant finished with 26 points on 5-of-17 shooting and Russell Westbrook added 29 points on 10-of-21 shooting. An unexpected performance from Derek Fisher (11 points in 24:24) propelled the Thunder to another nail biting victory over the defending champions.

The Mavericks leave Oklahoma City down 0-2 but they should, at the very least, leave with the assurance that they can win on the road in one of the most hostile environments in pro basketball. Dirk Nowitzki played with a lot of intensity, en route to an impressive 31-point performance. Nowitzki was notorious for his label as a “soft” player but he may have shed that tonight.

After Nowitzki completed his shot, Ibaka, defending him on the play, was a little late to close out and he got a piece of his face at the end of his follow through. This flustered Dirk and it eventually lead to Kendrick Perkins committing a loose ball foul on the next possessions. Tensions were high but thankfully the referees controlled the emotions and the fans were treated to an exciting game of playoff basketball.

Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday at 9:30 PM EST in Dallas. The game will be televised on TNT.